WSJ: “Wealthy City Dwellers Seek Refuge From Coronavirus at Remote Ranches”

[Note to Readers: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway (“Berkshire”), or any other entity referenced. Edina Realty is a subsidiary of Berkshire.]

Three things perplex me about oblivious rich people who agree to be interviewed, on the record, for stories about oblivious rich people who are fleeing their primary homes and cities for the perceived safety of their 2nd (4th? 6th??) homes in remote areas.

The puff pieces typically show the smiling inhabitants inside their lavish “backup” abodes, overlooking the mountains or ocean or maybe desert.

My three questions:

One. Why flaunt your wealth and good fortune so publicly?

That’s never a smart move, but it’s especially tone-deaf during a combination pandemic/instant recession.

Ever hear of “hubris?”

Two. Why create an undue security risk at your primary residence by announcing your absence?

Yeah, Yeah, I’m sure the (presumably even more opulent) primary homes of the ultra-affluent are protected by the latest security systems; are located inside patrolled, gated communities; and that everything’s fully insured.

But still.

While I’ve occasionally written travel-related posts on this blog, I make a point to NEVER do that — or allude to being out-of-town on Facebook or other social media — while I’m gone.

And trust me, it’s not because I’ve got any valuable jewelry or artwork stashed in my home.

Three. Why raise your profile with your new, temporary neighbors, who may resent your presence — and any coronavirus exposure you may be bringing with you?

Perhaps rich, urban refugees don’t stop to think such articles blow their cover — they simply assume that rural hicks don’t read The Wall Street Journal, only their friends and peers do.

All of which merely serves to compound the condescension.


As a single (vs. plural) home-owning, long-time Minnesotan, I’m gratified to report that I’ve yet to see anyone from the Twin Cities profiled in these rather obnoxious stories.

And, it’s not because there aren’t (very) successful, wealthy people here . . .

P.S.: I’m even prouder of Minnesota’s success, so far, limiting the spread of Covid-19.

No doubt that’s a testament to both the state’s forward-thinking political leaders, and its civic-minded populace.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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